Super Nature at Oostvaardersplassen
In October 2021, I did some filming at the Oostvaardersplassen in The Netherlands. It's a national park between the cities of Almere and Lelystad where nature has been left to re-establish itself over the past fifty years. Once slated for industrial development, the Oostvaardersplassen are now an internationally renowned swampy ecosystem with a great amount of wildlife spread over the wet and grassy halves of the park. Among the iconic species here are the Konik horses, the Heck cattle and the sea eagle. The large grazers living in the area keep the grasslands open, making the area somewhat reminiscent of the African savannah.
On this occasion, I was filming not on modern, digital cameras but on the Beaulieu 4008ZM Super 8 camera that once belonged to my grandfather. As a biologist specialising in animal behaviour, he traveled the world to visit all sorts of research projects and conferences. And he always brought his Super 8 camera along to film wildlife where-ever he went. After my grandfather passed away, I became the proud custodian of his wonderfully well maintained film archive. It contains a number of gems, including the footage he shot on the East African savannah.
The British film project "Super Nature" has been asking wildlife filmmakers around the world to shoot wildlife on Super 8, the home movie film format that was hugely popular in the sixties and seventies. When the people from "Super Nature" got in touch with me last year, I had just rediscovered my grandfather's Super 8 archive whilst cleaning up my attic during the pandemic. After projecting his African savannah footage in my living room, I thought it would be a great idea to create a visual rhyme with material filmed at the Oostvaardersplassen. Besides, it could also be a wonderful opportunity to try out my grandfather's Beaulieu camera once again.
And so I headed to the Oostvaarderplassen along with Belgian cameraman Joeri de Jong who specialises in filming on Super 8. The zebras became Konik horses, the wildebeest developed into Heck cattle and the gazelles were turned into the deer of the Oostvaardersplassen.